Tesseract, Aether, Orb, Scepter. Two more are going to show up before Infinity War. The question is where?
If you’ve seen any of the recent Marvel movies, you’ve probably heard the characters talking a lot about Infinity Stones – movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron both focused on these things pretty heavily, and they’ve shown up in other movies as well. But as they’re a bit obscure, even hardcore fans of Marvel comics have had to do a little background reading to figure out what’s going on.
In case you’ve not memorized every line of dialogue in the movies and read every comic book since the dawn of the Silver Age, here’s a quick recap of what the stones are, what they can do, and what Marvel’s building to with all of this. Plus, a glance forward at the stones yet to appear! Be warned: spoilers for pretty much every Marvel movie past and present (and Galaxy Quest, and Prince of Persia) abound!
The Infinity Gauntlet
The Infinity stones are basically a tease for the next Avengers movie event, Infinity War, which will end Phase 3 of Marvel’s grand movie plan in 2018 and start Phase 4 in 2019. The movie’s going to be a two-parter, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, and it’ll tie together upcoming movies like Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
If the story of the Infinity War movies follow the comics series of the same name, it’ll involve a big baddie named Thanos (the purple guy in the floating chair from the end of the Avengers movies and from Guardians of the Galaxy) getting his hands on a mystical artifact called the Infinity Gauntlet, which gives him the power to destroy the world and rule the universe.
The Infinity Gauntlet gets its power from Infinity Stones (also sometimes called Infinity Gems) which each have different powers and abilities. We’ve seen most of these stones crop up at different points, so here’s a rundown of where they are and what they’ve done in previous movies:
The Space Stone
This stone first appeared all the way back in the first Captain America movie, hidden in an old church until it was discovered by The Red Skull, who used it to power his evil Nazi superweapons. It was lost in the ocean at the end of the movie, but recovered by Tony Stark’s dad, who gave it to S.H.I.E.L.D. for experimentation. In the first Avengers movie, Loki tried to use the stone, called the Tesseract in that movie, to open a giant portal into space so that his forces could invade Earth.
Loki’s plans didn’t entirely go his way, and the Tesseract/Space Stone was taken to Asgard for safekeeping. As far as moviegoers know, it’s still there now, and it’s likely to turn up again in next year’s Thor: Ragnarok.
The Reality Stone
The plot of Thor: The Dark World, centered around Dark Elves trying to get their hands on the Aether, magical red space goo which can alter reality. It didn’t take fans who are familiar with the Infinity Stones long to realize that the Aether is, in fact, the Reality Stone. At the end of the movie, after Thor defeated the Dark Elves, the Aether was given to The Collector for safekeeping. Although as his collection of rare artifacts was destroyed during the Guardians of the Galaxy, so it’s possible that the Aether might be lost for the moment.
It’s possible that the Aether/Reality Stone might turn up again in Thor: Ragnarok, as the movie will probably involve the destruction of Asgard. If not, an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 seems possible.
The Power Stone
Unlike most of the other Infinity Stones, the Power Stone has so far only been seen in a single movie: Guardians of the Galaxy. In the colorful sci-fi extravaganza, the titular Guardians spend most of their time trying to sell a mystical orb which, it turns out, is the Power Stone. It’s stolen by the movie’s villain, Ronan, and almost used to destroy a planet until the Guardians put a stop to his evil plans.
The Orb/Power Stone is now in the possession of the Nova Corps, the galactic police, and it’s unlikely to make another appearance until Infinity War, although it might show up in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
The Mind Stone
When Loki first appeared on Earth at the beginning of The Avengers, he had a scepter which he could use to control the minds of his enemies – everyone’s (least) favorite Avenger Hawkeye spent a large chunk of the movie trying (and failing) to beat up Black Widow as a result.
Fans speculated that the scepter might be the Mind Stone and were proven right when Tony Stark got his hands on it in Avengers: Age of Ultron. After the failure of the creation of Ultron, Tony gave the Mind Stone another swing later on in the movie, leading to the creation of The Vision, a new superhero powered by the Mind Stone and Iron Man’s JARVIS computer program.
For the moment, the Scepter/Mind Stone remains with The Vision, who, having proven himself worthy of Thor’s hammer, is trusted by the Avengers. We’ll be seeing him again next year in Captain America: Civil War alongside most of the Avengers and a few new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Black Panther and Spider-Man.
The Last Two Stones
The final two stones have yet to be identified, although it’s probably that they’ll turn up at some point in the next few years so as to set the stage for Infinity War.
The Soul Stone
In the comics, the Soul Stone is guarded by the mystical hero Doctor Strange, who’ll have his own movie next year starring Benedict Cumberbatch. This being the case, it’s a good bet that the Soul Stone will play a central role in the movie, although it’s not yet certain what that might be.
The Time Stone
The Time Stone is a bit trickier to place. Although Captain America has been more involved with the Time Stone than other Avengers through much of the comics, adding an Infinity Stone to Captain America: Civil War would seem to make an already large movie more full that it could manage. So fans might have to wait a while to find out exactly where it is. The best bet is that it’ll turn up in 2017, in either Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – in either film it’d make for a good twelfth-hour deus ex machina to save the heroes, like in Galaxy Quest or Prince of Persia, where time is reversed to fix former mistakes.
When a Plan Comes Together
Marvel’s been playing the long game with the Infinity Stones, and have been setting up the Infinity War movies pretty much since the beginning of the MCU. While it’s not entirely certain what’ll happen in the coming movies, it’s very probable that we’ll see the other two stones at some point before Thanos finally leaves his floating chair long enough to steal them and kick off Infinity War. In the comics, upon getting hold of the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos instantly destroyed half of planet Earth, killing many heroes, so it’ll be interesting to see if the first Infinity War movie ends with this as a cliffhanger before resolving it in the next film.
One final thought on the Infinity Stones: some eagle-eyed fans have noticed that the names given to the stones – the Tesseract, Aether, Orb and Scepter, begin with the letters T, A, O and S. This had led some fans to speculate that the Stones will spell out T-H-A-N-O-S once we know what all of them are. In that case, fans looking to see things coming early should look out for mystical objects beginning with the letters H and N, as they may be very significant.
Is there anything we missed about the Infinity Stones and upcoming Marvel movies? If so, leave a comment below – we’d love to hear your ideas, fan theories and speculation.